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In 2017, Pursue Meaning

By Victoria Plettner-Saunders


goodbye 2016 quote and image

We all know how unsettling 2016 was. Somehow it seemed to rock our worlds by reminding us that we are not in control as much as we’d like to believe, that common sense cannot be counted on to overrule emotions, fact and fiction have become interchangeable, and one set of anxieties can be supplanted by even an greater one. (You didn’t hear the big sigh that came at the end of that sentence.) How can we make our own meaning and find a better place to be?

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/12/in-2017-pursue-meaning-instead-of-happiness.htmlAt the beginning of a new year we simultaneously look back and look forward. The looking back is easier because it is the known, and because every news outlet and Facebook newsfeed reminds us of it.

We also tend to remember the bad stuff, who died, which hurricane destroyed what small island and in our own lives, what didn’t go the way we wanted. We pull all these bad things together in a bundle and say wow that was a bad year. Can’t wait for that great shiny new one ahead.

I’m with you. 2016 was not one of our more stellar moments.

But if we look at our own lives and disconnect from the rest of it for a moment, what can we find to hold dear and to cherish? Where can we tune in to the real meaning? Reconnecting with an old friend? Time with family (given or chosen) that seemed better than usual? A good job change? A colleague who helped you move forward in your career, putting you a little bit farther ahead than you were in 2015? Overcoming a fear or meeting a personal challenge? Starting something new and hopeful? Closing down something that just wasn’t working (and feeling that big weight off your shoulders…finally!)?

And what about 2017? What are your hopes? What have you always wanted to do but been afraid to try? What challenge lies ahead that is yours and yours alone to meet? What challenge lies ahead that you can connect with others to achieve? Where can you find your own meaning?

Intelligent ChangeOver the holidays a friend shared with me her life changing activity for 2016. She started keeping a Five Minute Journal. It’s a neat way to spend a few minutes in the morning and in the evening – looking forward and looking back over each day.

She says it’s helped her find the goodness in each day and the ability to be more mindful – less reactionary – to what is going on around her. When we spent Christmas Day together she seemed more open and more centered than before. Wow, I could use that.

So, I purchased my own Five Minute Journal and will keep it by my bed for morning and evening entries. Here’s to 2017. May you find the strength to let go of the newsfeed, the cyber-chatter, and that barrage of bad news and choose how YOU want to spend each day.

Remember: You are in charge of making your own world spin.

For more about the pursuit of meaning read on